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Spatter is made up of many thousands of droplets of molten filler metal that escape from the weld pool and are scattered around the work area during welding. These small, round balls of molten metal can fall on the welder, workpiece, the floor and surrounds. Sometimes they stick and are difficult to remove, sometimes they cool and form tiny balls of metal. It is not possible to completely eliminate spatter from a MIG/MAG welding process. However, the objective should be to reduce as much as possible. The following article briefly explains how spatter occurs, how to remove or prevent it, and explores the hidden costs that spatter creates

There are various potential causes of spatter

  • Incorrect welding parameter; arc voltage, wire feed speed, welding current, stick-out, shielding gas flow rate and torch angle all need to be optimised.
  • Poor base material surface conditions; joint faces and the weld area need to be clean and free from contamination such as oil, paint, scale and rust.
  • Use of welding equipment in poor working order.
  • Sub-optimal shielding gas selection; for instance, when MAG welding carbon steel, argon/carbon dioxide mixtures generate more spatter than argon/carbon dioxide/oxygen gas mixtures such as one of the Ferromaxx® gases from Air Products.

Eliminating spatter

Spatter can be removed either using hand tools (such as a grinder or chisel) or via a chemical process. In some instances, anti-spatter wipes can be applied to the workpiece, prior to welding, to ease the removal of spatter. However, any method to remove spatter will require some manual input.

From a visual perspective, it is well understood why it is undesirable to have spatter on the workpiece, as it negatively impacts the finish of the product. Due to the uneven surface and poor adhesion of the spatter, paint finishes will have imperfections and offer poor protection. This, in turn, can shorten the life cycle of the final product.

However, there are several other key reasons to eliminate spatter that are sometimes overlooked. These are all cost-related.

  • Spatter is a waste of wire. On the face of it a reduction in spatter on a weld may seem insignificant and not worth the effort to resolve. However, filler wire is expensive, and the melting of spatter uses valuable electricity, up to 20% of filler wire can be wasted in spatter if not controlled properly. In addition, spatter can stick to gas nozzles and contact tips blocking the flow of gas and causing porosity.
  • Spatter increases material costs. Anti-spatter, grinding wheels, chemicals, power – the more spatter there is to remove, the more these costs increase.
  • Spatter incurs labour costs to remove. This is lost production time. Welders are skilled labour. Any time spent removing spatter is time that could have been spent in a more productive way.

There is a compelling case to minimise spatter. Air Products can work with you to achieve this goal. All our Maxx® weld process gases have been designed to minimise spatter, saving you time and money. Our welding application specialists can work with you to choose the correct gas for your process and optimise your welding set-up.

Ferromaxx®

For faster, cleaner welding of carbon steel

Purpose designed for MAG welding carbon, carbon manganese and low alloy steels, the Ferromaxx® gases give superb weld quality and excellent penetration together with minimal spatter and low fume levels.

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Inomaxx®

Maximum performance for welding stainless steel

The Inomaxx® range of gases has been developed to give high quality welds in stainless steel which have excellent surface finish and superb corrosion resistance.

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Alumaxx®

One gas that does it all for aluminium

Alumaxx® Plus weld process gas has been specifically designed as the only gas that you need for the high-quality welding of aluminium and its alloys. If you aim for the most exacting standards, you’ll need a dedicated gas like Alumaxx® Plus. A multipurpose welding gas, it is specially designed for MIG and TIG welding aluminium and its alloys across all material thickness.

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Air Products

Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a world-leading Industrial Gases company in operation for nearly 80 years. The Company provides industrial gases and related equipment to dozens of industries, including refining, chemical, metals, electronics, manufacturing, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment. The Company develops, engineers, builds, owns and operates some of the world’s largest industrial gas projects, including gasification projects that sustainably convert abundant natural resources into syngas for the production of high-value power, fuels and chemicals.

The Company had fiscal 2019 sales of $8.9 billion from operations in 50 countries and has a current market capitalization of about $55 billion. More than 17,000 passionate, talented and committed employees from diverse backgrounds are driven by Air Products’ higher purpose to create innovative solutions that benefit the environment, enhance sustainability and address the challenges facing customers, communities, and the world. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.

For many industries, the gases we supply are a lifeline. Whether operating a facility right at your site or delivering products by truck or pipeline, we want you to think of Air Products as a key part of your business.  We offer thousands of products to a multitude of different industries.  This scope, knowledge and experience has enabled us to develop a deeper understanding of your particular needs.

The consistency and quality of the gases we supply are also vitally important.  We strive to not only meet international industry standards, but also satisfy the most demanding requirements for on-spec products and superior technology and services.

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